3 Big moves Braves are set to make to keep up with Dodgers in the NL after Shohei Ohtani signing…

3 moves Braves can make to keep up with Dodgers in the NL after Shohei Ohtani signing.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves

The Los Angeles Dodgers spent a fortune on Shohei Ohtani, making us wonder what a team like the Atlanta Braves could do to keep pace with their National League foe’s reckless spending ways.

The Atlanta Braves were never going to pay Shohei Ohtani what he could command on the open market. Blessed with one Mickey Mouse World Series Championship, the Los Angeles Dodgers gave Ohtani an absolutely ridiculous 10-year contract worth $700 million, fully guaranteed. He is a phenom, but what if his arm falls off before the end of year three? That is so much money for a DH!

Although Atlanta was rumored to be a dark horse to pry Ohtani away from the Los Angeles Angels, that is not how Alex Anthopoulos operates running the Braves’ front office. Nothing leaks out of Atlanta, so anything a baseball reporter of note speculates about the Braves is as good as your best guess or mine. Fortunately, we are probably due for at least one big splash by Atlanta this offseason.

Last year saw them trade for Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy. Two years ago, Atlanta dealt for hometown product in Lilburn native Matt Olson to man first base. Both former Oakland standouts were NL All-Stars last season, with Olson setting a franchise record in home runs, finishing in the top five in NL MVP voting as well. It will not be Oakland, but Anthopoulos is poised to make a deal soon.

Here are three moves I think would make a lot of sense for the Braves to make to keep pace with L.A.

3 moves Atlanta Braves can make to keep pace with Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Trade for Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes

No doubt about it. The Milwaukee Brewers are at a crossroads organizationally. They had been a contender in the NL Central for years under former skipper Craig Counsell’s guidance. With him taking over for the rival Chicago Cubs in-division, as well as the Brewers increasingly likely to hit the reset button as a franchise, they might move on from former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.

Truthfully, I hope Milwaukee is able to keep Burnes because he is awesome and a great reason to put butts in seats there so the franchise won’t relocate. However, Atlanta did do business with Milwaukee last offseason, as the Braves sent their 2022 All-Star William Contreras to the Brewers as part of the Murphy deal with Oakland. At the very least, communication lines are open between both NL teams.

If Atlanta added Burnes by way of trade, it would completely solidify the rotation with Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder long-term parts of it, as well as Charlie Morton back for another year and Max Fried playing in a contract year. Preferably, I would like to see Anthopoulos extend Fried before he goes to market, but that is not how he operates. Therefore, I cannot rule anything out Anthopoulos may do.

Burnes in Atlanta would be spectacular, but I think the Braves have more promising trade candidates.

2. Trade for Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow

Given that he was teammates with Charlie Morton in 2019 and 2020, I feel that Atlanta stands a great chance at trading for Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow. Although Tampa Bay is a well-run operation, the Rays do not have anywhere close to the financial resources readily available as the Braves do, let alone the Dodgers. Simply, if Anthopoulos wanted to trade for Glasnow, he could do it.

When Glasnow is on, he can be one of the best pitchers in the game. While he has an up-and-down nature to him due to injuries and other things, Atlanta could conceivably get him in a discounted deal. Anthopoulos would so love that prior to extending him. Doing so may signify that Fried is going to market and probably not returning to Atlanta beyond 2024. This move may not be popular in Atlanta.

What I like about the Braves possibly trading for Glasnow is that Atlanta would be getting an All-Star-level pitcher from the other league, one that is possibly able to be extended very quickly. However, I think there is a chance this deal could blow up in the Braves’ face. There is a chance we may have seen the best baseball out of him. If he costs the Braves Fried long-term and struggles, that is rough…

The high-variance nature of acquiring Glasnow and then extending him needs to be sorted through.

1. Trade for Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease

The one player I think could make Braves Country happy Atlanta could realistically deal for would be Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease. The Milton native has been tied to Atlanta all offseason, as the South Siders look to rebuild again, I guess. Chicago wants to move him, and having another hometown hero joining the Braves would play well within the Atlanta fanbase. Make it happen.

I think once Ohtani signed with the Dodgers, it was always going to open up the rest of impending offseason activity. Cease, along with Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers, feel increasingly likely to be dealt before spring training. While the Dodgers may have one of the best lineups in baseball, the Braves have the better pitching staff, albeit one that has not been up to snuff the last two Octobers…

To me, it is all about incremental and strategic growth for Atlanta in terms of overall team-building. Anthopoulos is not about to overpay for a depreciating asset, but he has shown that he will pony up some cash when the finds a deal he likes. While he has been willing to spend on every-day position players, he has yet to pay an absurd amount of money to a starting pitcher outside the organization.

Now that the Ohtani sweepstakes has run its course, it can pave the way to bring Cease back home.

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